History of the SMART Operational Assessments Program

SMART Operational Assessments Program (SMART-OAP) grants pay companies in Northern Ontario 50% of their eligible costs, up to $15,000, to improve how their company works. FedNor, part of the Government of Canada, runs the SMART-OAP program. It works to help businesses bring jobs and economic growth to Northern Ontario.

Components of the grant

The grant gives money to help a company pay to find ways to get better at making products, dealing with employees, collecting and using data, and finding new markets.

A company must submit an application and a proposal from a qualified service provider (QSP) approved by FedNor. The proposal must state how the QSP will evaluate the company to show how it can get better. The proposal must also say what the company must do to get better, and then show how it can prove it has gotten better.

Purpose of the grant

A grant will help a company pay the QSP to evaluate the company. The QSP’s report will say how the company can get better. It will also say how this will create more long-term jobs in Northern Ontario.

Companies with a QSP report can then ask for grants from FedNor’s productivity improvements funding program. These grants can help the company pay for the work that must be done to make the company better.

How much funding is available?

FedNor pays for the SMART-OAP through its Northern Ontario Development Program. Since 2011, FedNor has spent $235 M on 838 projects through this program.

FedNor will spend as much money as it has to in the SMART-OAP program to pay for the number of grants it gives out.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Types of eligible projects

A company can ask for grants to help it improve how it makes products and use less energy to make them. Grants can be given to find new ways to collect and use data, find new markets, and work with employees.

FedNor will give grants for other projects that will make companies better.

Can your company apply for SMART-OAP grants?

    Yes, if your company is

  • based in Northern Ontario (see the map);
  • registered as a federal or provincial company for over two years;
  • financially secure;
  • has less than 500 full-time employees in Northern Ontario; and
  • NOT getting money for this project from other government programs.

 Final Thoughts

Northern Ontario companies should apply to SMART-OAP if they want to improve.  They will get grant money to help find out what they need to do to get better. Then, they can apply for more grant money from other FedNor programs to pay for some of the needed improvements.

Interested companies should move fast, as the program ends on July 31, 2018.

Could your company benefit from funding via the SMART Operational Assessments Program? Contact ConnexFund to find out if your project is a suitable candidate for the program.


ConnexFund specializes in grants and funding for innovative companies and start-ups with a focus on technology and manufacturing. Many Canadian businesses are aware that there is some free money available for them. But not so many know where to find it, how to access it and how to prepare a grant application that is successful. And this is exactly what ConnexFund does! Call us at 416-320-8034.